Title:
Messaging article
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention is an article comprising a housing having a bottom wall and a top wall supportively engaged to the top wall. The top wall defines a slot extending through the top wall for sheet material. A voice recorder is secured to the housing. In one embodiment of the invention, a stack of sheet material is positioned within the housing. The stack includes plurality of vertically aligned sheets of material which are releasably adhered to each other along opposite edges of successive sheets by a narrow band of pressure-sensitive adhesive. A first sheet of material is capable of passing through the slot in the top wall of the housing. In a second embodiment of the invention, sheet material disposed in a roll is positioned within the housing. A continuous stripe of a narrow band of pressure-sensitive adhesive is disposed generally proximate to one longitudinal edge of the sheet material. A transverse edge of the sheet material is capable of passing through the slot in the top wall of the housing. In an additional embodiment, the voice recorder is releasably attached to the dispenser housing. In yet another embodiment, the voice recorder formed integrally in the housing.



Inventors:
Bastiaens, Willem V. (Medina, MN, US)
Thompson, Craig D. (Inver Grove Heights, MN, US)
Anderson, Gregory J. (Stillwater, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/976674
Publication Date:
05/04/2006
Filing Date:
10/29/2004
Assignee:
3M Innovative Properties Company
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/232
International Classes:
B65D85/57; B65D69/00; B65D71/00; B65D85/575
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY (ST. PAUL, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An article comprising: a housing having a bottom wall and a top wall supportively engaged to the top wall, the top wall defining a slot extending through the top wall for sheet material; and a voice recorder secured to the housing.

2. The article of claim 1 and further comprising: a stack of sheet material positioned within the housing, the stack including a plurality of vertically aligned sheets of material which are releasably adhered to each other along opposite edges of successive sheets by a narrow band of pressure-sensitive adhesive, a first sheet of material capable of passing through the slot in the top wall of the housing.

3. The article of claim 2, wherein the pressure sensitive adhesive is repositionable.

4. The article of claim 2, wherein the voice recorder is releasably attached to the dispenser housing.

5. The article of claim 2, wherein the voice recorder is formed integrally in the housing.

6. The article of claim 2 and further comprising: a mounting mechanism secured to the dispenser housing.

7. The article of claim 6, wherein the attachment mechanism is a clip suitable for securing to the visor of a car.

8. The article of claim 2, wherein the sheet material is paper.

9. The article of claim 2, wherein the sheet material is plastic.

10. The article of claim 2, wherein each sheet has pressure sensitive adhesive having a peel adhesion to bond paper of greater than about 35 g/cm, and an adhesive transfer of less than about four percent.

11. The article of claim 2 wherein the housing further comprises: a first side wall extending from a first edge of the bottom wall to a first edge of the top wall; a second side wall extending from a second edge of the bottom wall to a first edge of the top wall; and wherein the first side wall and the second side wall act to supportively engage the bottom wall with the top wall and the top wall, the bottom wall, the first side wall and the second side wall form a cavity.

12. The article of claim 11 and further comprising: a removeable cover portion of the top wall dispose providing access to the cavity.

13. The article of claim 11 and further comprising: a translating mechanism disposed in cavity.

14. The article of claim 2 and further comprising: a retaining mechanism suitable for releasably securing a writing instrument to the housing.

15. The article of claim 1 and further comprising: sheet material disposed in a roll, the sheet material positioned within the housing, and including a continuous stripe of a narrow band of pressure-sensitive adhesive disposed generally proximate to one longitudinal edge of the sheet material, a transverse edge of the sheet material capable of passing through the slot in the top wall of the housing.

16. The article of claim 15, wherein the pressure-sensitive adhesive is repositionable.

17. The article of claim 15 and further comprising: a cutting edge secured to the top wall along the slot

18. The article of claim 15, wherein the voice recorder is releasably attached to the dispenser housing.

19. The article of claim 15, wherein the voice recorder formed integrally in the housing.

20. The article of claim 15 and further comprising: a mounting mechanism secured to the dispenser housing.

21. The article of claim 20, wherein the attachment mechanism is a clip suitable for securing to the visor of a car.

22. The article of claim 15, wherein each sheet has pressure sensitive adhesive having a peel adhesion to bond paper of greater than about 35 g/cm, and an adhesive transfer of less than about four percent.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to an article used for taking written notes and recording audio messages. In particular, the invention relates to an article for dispensing sheet material in combination with a device for recording audible sound.

Various note taking articles are known in the art, including paper pads capable of receiving writing, such as paper note pads, and pads of repositionable notes (e.g. Post-it® brand notes sold by 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.). Electronic note taking devices are also known in the art for taking digital written notes, such as personal digital assistants (PDA's). Audio recording devices such as tape recorders using magnetic tapes to record and store audio messages, and recording devices using solid state memory to store audio messages in digital form are also known. Many of these are handheld devices, such as the portable dictation recorders sold by Dictaphone Corporation, Stratford, Conn.

The use of audio recording devices used in combination with written recording devices is also known. For example, the Perfect Solutions brand auto voice recorder and note pad, sold by E&B Giftware, Yonkers, N.Y., and the car notepad holder, light and voice recorder sold by Four Star Group Taipei, Taiwan, combine a pad of repositionable notes with a digital audio recording device. It can be problematic, however, to attempt to remove the repositionable notes from these type of devices, since they do not provide a convenient way to have the sheet presented to the user so as to be readily grasped and removed from the device.

SUMMARY

The invention is an article comprising a housing having a bottom wall and a top wall supportively engaged to the top wall. The top wall defines a slot extending through the top wall for sheet material. A voice recorder is secured to the housing. In one embodiment of the invention, a stack of sheet material is positioned within the housing. The stack includes plurality of vertically aligned sheets of material which are releasably adhered to each other along opposite edges of successive sheets by a narrow band of pressure-sensitive adhesive. A first sheet of material is capable of passing through the slot in the top wall of the housing. In a second embodiment of the invention, sheet material disposed in a roll is positioned within the housing. A continuous stripe of a narrow band of pressure-sensitive adhesive is disposed generally proximate to one longitudinal edge of the sheet material. A transverse edge of the sheet material is capable of passing through the slot in the top wall of the housing. In an additional embodiment, the voice recorder is releasably attached to the dispenser housing. In yet another embodiment, the voice recorder is formed integrally in the housing.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In this disclosure, several messaging article embodiments are illustrated. Throughout the drawings, like reference numerals are used to indicate common features or components of those devices.

FIG. 1 is an exploded isometric view of one embodiment of the inventive messaging article.

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of the embodiment of the messaging article illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is an exploded isometric view of a second embodiment of the inventive messaging article.

FIG. 4 is a top view of a third embodiment of the inventive messaging article.

FIG. 5 is an isometric view of a fourth embodiment of the inventive messaging article.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

This invention provides an audio recorder and a dispenser for sheet material so as to form a messaging article. In one embodiment of the messaging article, the sheet material is placed in a stack such that upon dispensing one sheet of material the next adjacent sheet in the stack will be positioned so that it is separated from the other sheets in the stack and can be readily grasped by the user for release from the dispenser. This dispenser is particularly useful for dispensing sheets that are coated with a narrow band of adhesive near one edge such that they are adhered to the adjacent sheet. When one sheet is withdrawn from the stack the adhesive on the edge of that sheet pulls the free edge of the underlying (or next) sheet from the dispenser. This type of dispenser is useful for sheets of paper as well as for sheets of polymeric film. The dispensed sheet with its adhesive makes it easy to secure the note to a target surface. In an alternate embodiment of the invention, a roll of sheet material having a continuous layer of adhesive can be used to dispense sheets of material for taking written notes. Again, this provides the user with a convenient way to dispense sheets of material such that they are readily grasped by the user. Additionally, the device provides the user with the ability to record audio messages by including a digital or analog recording device secured (e.g. either in detatchable or integrated form) to the written note dispensing device. This recording device is particularly useful in situations where a user cannot use both hands or is distracted by some other task, for example while driving a car. By combining an audio recording device with a written note taking device, the user has the option of recording thoughts as they occur, and then transferring them later by writing them on the sheet material. The sheet material can then be taken with the user, for example by adhering the adhesive portion of the sheet material to a briefcase, paper binder, dashboard, or other surface. Transferring these messages to the sheet material (which can be disposed of later) means that the user does not need to carry the voice recorder with them everywhere, instead they can leave the voice recorder where it is most useful (e.g. in the car) and take the written message with them so that it does not get lost. Thus, the current invention provides a particularly convenient way of recording and transferring messages in a convenient fashion.

An exemplary combination audio recording and dispenser for sheet material article is shown at 10 in FIGS. 1 and 2. Article 10 includes housing 12, voice recorder 14, and stack of sheet material 16 disposed in dispensing portion 17. Housing 12 includes bottom wall 20, top wall 22, first side wall 24, second side wall 26, third side wall 28, and fourth side wall 30, together defining cavity 32. Top wall 22 includes longitudinal slot 34 extending generally perpendicularly between first side wall 24 and second side wall 26. In one embodiment, slot has dimensions of about 15 mm wide by about 66 mm long. Housing 12 can be formed from any number of materials including metal and plastic (e.g. polyester, ABS, polycarbonate) which may be injection molded to form housing 12.

Stack of sheet material 16 is placed within cavity 32. In one embodiment, cavity 32 has a size and shape which generally corresponds to stack of sheet material 16. Slot 34 is sized such that individual sheets (e.g., top sheet 16A) of material can pass through slot 34.

Free end 36 of top sheet 16A of stack of sheets 16 in housing 12 is withdrawn through slot 34 and, thus, is disposed in a position where it may be grasped and separated from the remainder of the sheets. Each sheet (e.g. top sheet 16A) in stack of sheet material 16 is coated adjacent one edge with a narrow band of readily releasable repositionable pressure-sensitive adhesive 40. FIG. 1 illustrates with dotted lines the position of adhesive 40 “sandwiched” between adjacent sheets. The sheets are stacked with the adhesive coated edge of each successive sheet disposed along alternate opposite edges to maintain the sheets in a stack. Notes of this type are sold as Post-it® pop-up notes, manufactured by 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.

One preferred pressure-sensitive adhesive is a repositionable acrylate copolymer microsphere structured adhesive, such as that used on Post-it® notes, manufactured by 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn. In particular, one exemplary repositionable pressure-sensitive adhesive for the sheets is an acrylate copolymer microsphere structured adhesive as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,691,140, issued to Silver on Mar. 3, 1970, U.S. Pat. No. 3,857,731, issued to Merrill et al. on Apr. 6, 1973, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,166,152 issued to Baker et al. on Aug. 28, 1979.

In another embodiment, the repositionable pressure-sensitive adhesive acrylate copolymer microsphere structured adhesive coated on the sheets is configured such that each sheet has a peel adhesion to bond paper of greater than about 35 g/cm. In addition, the pressure sensitive adhesive has an adhesive transfer of less than about four percent. Testing methods for determining these values are described further, below. This type of adhesive is particularly useful when it is desirable to affix the written notes to substrates other than paper so as to provide high adhesion values.

Peel adhesion is the force required to remove an adhesive coated flexible sheet material from a test panel of bond paper substrate measured at a specific angle and rate of removal. This force is expressed in grams per width of adhesive coated sheet. A strip, one inch wide, of coated sheet is applied to the horizontal surface of 20 pound bond paper. A 4.5 lb. hard rubber roller is used to firmly apply the strip to the bond paper. The free end of the coated sheet is attached to an adhesion tester load cell (such as a TLMI release and adhesion tester available from TLMI, Inc., Naperville, Ill.) such that the angle of removal will be 90°. The test plate is then clamped in the jaws of the tensile testing machine that is capable of moving the plate away from the load cell at a constant rate of 12 inches per minute. A load cell reading in grams per width of coated sheet is recorded.

Adhesive transfer is defined as the amount of adhesive that transfers to an applied substrate when the adhesive coated sheet is peeled or removed from the substrate. The test is conducted by adhering a three-quarter inch (1.9 cm) wide strip of adhesive coated sheet to a clean area of a clay coated paper commercially available as Kromekote™ using a release and adhesion tester (such as a TLMI release and adhesion tester available from TLMI, Inc., Naperville, Ill.). The adhesive is allowed to remain in contact with the Kromekote™ for 30 seconds and then is removed at a 90° angle at a constant rate of 90 inches/minute. The clay coated strip is then analyzed by an image processor through a video camera and the percent adhesive coverage of the viewed area is recorded.

Free end 36 of top sheet 16A is disposed with free end 36 out of housing 12 and remaining end 38 of top sheet 16A inside housing 12 (i.e., in cavity 32). Remaining end 38 is coated with narrow band of adhesive 40A. Each sheet in stack of sheet material 16 includes a band of adhesive on alternately opposite edges of successive sheets. When free end 36 of top sheet 16A is grasped and pulled in a direction to dispense sheet 16A, adhesive 40A pulls adjacent end 42 of next sheet 16B from the stack and brings this adjacent end 42 of next sheet 16B through slot 34. Top sheet 16A then peels away from or, in other words, is separated from next sheet 16B. Sheet 16B is then ready for dispensing, as it becomes the top sheet and end 42 becomes the free end. The process can be repeated until all sheets in stack of sheet material 16 are dispersed. Sheet material dispensing is further described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,781,306, and 4,770,320 which are incorporated by reference in their entirety herein.

In one embodiment, translating mechanism 44 is disposed in cavity 32. To assist in dispensing of stack of sheet material 16, translating mechanism 44 causes stack of sheet material 16 to be moved toward slot 34 as each successive sheet is dispensed. This assures that free end 36 of top sheet 16A will extend through slot 34. In one embodiment, translating mechanism 44 includes a helical spring 46 having one end disposed in recess 48 in bottom wall 20. The other end of this spring supports stud 50 of table (or platform) 52 which is moveable between the top wall 22 and bottom wall 20. Table 52 is disposed between stack of sheet material 16 and bottom wall 20, and thereby acts to translate stack of sheet material 16 towards top wall 22.

In one embodiment, removable cover portion 54 is provided as part of top wall 22. Cover portion 54 may be removed, for example, by sliding in the direction of arrow 56 using a tongue and groove type configuration.

The sheet material used in stack of sheet material 16 may be any number of materials. For example, sheets may be formed from paper, such as trademark Post-it® brand notes and Post-it® brand super sticky notes, manufactured by 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn. Alternately, sheets may be formed from plastic, such as Post-it® brand tape flags, manufactured by 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.

Article 10 also includes voice recorder 14 attached to housing 12. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, channel 58 is disposed through top wall 22. Channel 58 is defined by fifth side wall 59 and back wall 60. Retaining tab 62A extends from the junction of back wall 60 and top wall 22 and retaining tab 62B extends from the junction of fourth side wall 30 and top wall 22. Additionally, tension bar 63, which can be formed as a leaf spring, may be included to add additional force to secure voice recorder 14 in channel 58.

In one embodiment, voice recorder 14 is similar to the type sold under the trade name Voice Zone, model number RE9922A, manufactured by Ultmost Technology Corp, Taipei, Taiwan, although other digital or analog type voice recording devices known in the art may alternatively be used. Voice recorder 14 is slideably disposed within channel 58. Operational buttons 63 and microphone/speaker 65 are typically provided on voice recorder 14. Recorder clip 64 is fixedly attached to case 66 of voice recorder 14. Clip 64 is generally resilient and can be disposed into aperture 68 formed in first side wall 24 so as to secure voice recorder 14 to housing 12. This can occur in any number of ways known to those skilled in the art (e.g., disposing a finger on recorder clip 64 into a recess in the wall forming aperture 68). Voice recorder 14 is releasably secured in channel 58 by tabs 62A and 62B and by the friction of clip 64 in aperture 68. By pulling on top end 70 of voice recorder 14 in the direction of arrow 72, clip 64 disengages from aperture 22 and recorder 14 can be removed from housing 12.

Mounting clip 74 is provided to allow article 10 to be secured to a mounting surface, such as the visor of an automobile, a belt, a folder, etc. Other mounting mechanisms known to those skilled in the art are contemplated as being part of the present inventive article such as magnetic devices, adhesives, adhesive foam mounting pads and Command® brand mounting strips manufactured by 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.

FIG. 3 illustrates an alternate embodiment of messaging article 10. In this embodiment, continuous sheet 78 of material is disposed in cavity 32 in the form of roll 80. Roll 80 includes a continuous band of pressure sensitive adhesive 82 disposed along first longitudinal edge 84 of the sheet 78. The adhesive can be of the type described previously with respect to FIGS. 1 and 2. Similarly, the material forming the continuous sheet can be paper, plastic or some other material which can be disposed in roll form.

Roll 80 is secured in cavity 32 in any number of ways known to one skilled in the art, including forming spool 86 onto which sheet of material 78 is rolled such that pins 88 extend outwardly from the longitudinal ends of roll 80 which may be placed in sockets 90 formed in housing 14. Leading edge (or transverse edge) 92 of continuous sheet 78 is pulled through slot 34 and roll 80 unwinds as more of sheet 78 is dispensed. Once the user has enough material to accomplish the task (e.g., note taking), continuous sheet 78 can be severed. To assist in severing, blade 94 (typically serrated) is mounted or molded onto cover portion 54. Blade 94 typically is formed from metal or plastic.

It should be noted also that the placement of the dispensing portion of the messaging article of the present invention with respect to the voice recorder may vary. For example, in FIGS. 1-3, described previously, the voice recorder was disposed so as to make the messaging article have length and width dimensions generally the same. In a different configuration illustrated by FIG. 4, housing 112 of messaging article 110 can be configured so as to dispose voice recorder 14 such that the length dimension substantially greater than the width dimension. Additionally illustrated in FIG. 4 is pen 98 and pen clip 99. Pen clip 99 may be molded integrally with housing 112.

Another embodiment of the invention such is illustrated in FIG. 5 at 210 utilizes a voice recorder 214 integrated into housing 212 so as to not be removable. Integrating voice recorder 214 into housing in this manner has a benefit in that the voice recorder 214 cannot dislodge from the holder due to the jostling which can occur to messaging article 210 (for example if messaging article 210 is used in a vehicle).

As described previously, stack of sheet material 16 can be included in article 210 (as shown), or alternatively, a roll of material (as shown and descried in with respect to FIG. 3), may be disposed in dispensing portion 217 of messaging article 210.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to various embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize that changes be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.